Tuesday, March 29

And May God Bless

THE Internets are now closed:
Who is going to give the Democratic response to Obama's speech?

--ifthethunderdontgetya at wonkette

It's tempting to begin a discussion of the President's speech by noting that it followed tricky diplomatic bargaining with ABC, and balanced the nation's Right to Know with its Right Not To Have Dancin' With The Stars preempted. In fact, it's tempting to end the discussion there, too.
A White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, sent a statement by email:

“The White House routinely works with the networks, as a group, in circumstances like these to find a time that’s respectful of both the networks and their audience – while ensuring that the President has the platform he needs to deliver an important message to the American people.”

Because if you think this is some facile, bench-jockey comment that's pre-empted by the dictates of "the real world", the one where the President "was forced to make a decision," then I've got a war for you. Another one, that is. If you miss out you'll have to wait 2.5 years on average for your next opportunity. Otherwise, we don't have anything to talk about. Sending US troops into battle is now less important than a fucking television show. *

Reasons are reasons, and excuses are excuses, and what the President offered were the latter, not that that's any surprise. For all the chatter about how despicable Gaddafi is, and how funny he dresses, and the sort of threats of door-to-door violence he was making...

(Which, by the way: surely there's enough money in it for some PR firm to school these guys, isn't there? I'm not looking for a kinder, gentler, more tele-friendly Ahmadinejad, or a better-dressed Kim Jong Il; I'd just like to know why the tenth-rate international shitheels we decide to pick on routinely talk like teenaged spree killers on Facebook. Maybe they really do, maybe it's something in the translation; at any rate, it sure is convenient for everybody. And despite my relative disrespect for the ability of the US--I mean global allied coalition--to conduct and maintain a successful ground invasion outside the Carribbean, I would not personally be tempting it--them--to bomb the shit out of me. That they're fairly good at, if by "good" we mean "able to do something similar for an indefinite period".)

those are excuses; the reasons are 1) oil; 2) oil; and 3) because we can.

This is not 1950, or 1956, or 1961. All the blather about whether or not we can make a moral case for raining tons of metal from the sky on this pissant du jour is just that. We can't. Or rather, we could, but we decided to trade the moral high ground in for global economic hegemony and military-industrial complexifying sixty years ago. If you don't like the fact that there's an immediate, and powerful, counter-argument to any publicly-acknowledged bombing campaign in the name of Good, take it up with Harry Truman.

This is not a tricky moral dilemma we find ourselves in because we're a Leader, Mr. President. It's the sort of tricky moral dilemma we find ourselves in because we insist on being the sort of Leader who bombs the shit out of people so we can prove we're a Leader. Just as we sometimes find ourselves with (Democratic) Presidents who are forced to prove their leadership by standing to the right of Curtis LeMay. I know that's not an answer, exactly, but then I'm not the guy who's suggesting he has 'em. I have no idea who the Libyan rebels are. I suspect you don't know much more than I. I don't believe the fact that they opposed Gaddafi puts 'em on the side of the angels, and I don't believe that the fact that Gaddafi was able to respond with force makes them martyrs. It may just make them impatient and overly simple. I do know something of our track record in such matters.

And I know I probably shouldn't have to explain this to you, Mr. President, but then again it did happen before the Reagan administration: Nobody bombed the Alabama State Police to even up the battle for Civil Rights in this country.

Y'know, Mr. President, if bombing Libya was the right thing to do--and I'm going to leave off the question of whether that means we should be bombing Yemen, Tunisia, Syria, and Bahrain, since we all know the real answer--then it's the right thing to do without the same sorts of arguments about why we were doing the right thing in Vietnam, or Iraq, or Afghanistan (and not Budapest, or Prague, or Tiananmen). And there were good arguments for why Britain and France could've done the job themselves if they were so fucking gung ho. They may be right, or wrong, or something other than black and white, but they are, clearly, our cover story of the past six decades, and our cover was long since blown. I didn't expect you'd get though a term without starting a new war or escalating an old one. I did think that maybe, maybe, we'd hear some justification that approached thoughtful. Or at least that avoided business as usual.


* And it's been that way for thirty-five years, at least. The difference is that now we can't even pretend it's any different.


R. Porrofatto said...

I've heard that Vietnam is a socialist country under the jackboot of a single "Communist" party which severely restricts its citizens' basic human freedoms. Maybe we should drop a few bombs on them to make sure this kind of thing doesn't spread to other countries in the region, preventing a kind of domino effect, if you will. Or has that been tried before?

Keifus said...

Well said. We're down to the "this time it's really gonna be different" defense.

The PR firm Monitor Group did in fact advise Muammar in the late 2000s, and rehabilitate his image. Better historians than me can no doubt map the high-level parasitism of that organization in anything like useful detail, but (this is the part I remembered) the notorious porcine douchebag Richard Perle was among the executive liasons to the country. I wonder if Ghadaffi is in the shit this time around from failing to go along with their helpful suggestions, or from following them.

Keifus said...

(Er, "with a stated intent to rehabilitate his image", that is. His image obviously reverted easily enough as soon as it was convenient.)

Anonymous said...

The claim that this is a humanitarian intervention is transparent bullshit. We are clearly providing air support for offensive military action by the Libyan insurgents, not merely preventing a massacre of innocents.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

"humanitarian bombing"? Is that a new one?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Zombies resent the intrusion upon their brain farming activities.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

At least we don't try to pretend it is for anything besides sustenance, O Famous Meteorological Person.

Also, we don't NOM weddings.

Anonymous said...

We are clearly providing air support for offensive military action by the CIA-funded mercenaries, not merely preventing a massacre of innocents.


Anonymous said...

I'd just like to know why the tenth-rate international shitheels we decide to pick on routinely talk like teenaged spree killers on Facebook. Maybe they really do, maybe it's something in the translation; at any rate, it sure is convenient for everybody.

An Iranian-American friend, who hates the current government, swears that Ahmadinejad is routinely mistranslated to make him sound far more inflammatory than he actually intends in the original Farsi.

And it's rarely pointed out that he is basically a rabble-rousing loudmouth with a high profile but considerably less power; the mullahs really run the show in Iran.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Where are my manners? On my head, of course!

Thanks for the shout and link, Mr. Doghouse.

isabelita said...

I've started reading the British writer, Colin Thubron, who has traveled extensively and written amazingly about it. The book I'm in is titled "The Lost Heart of Asia." He was in the 'stan countries after the USSR fell apart, and gleaned an amazing amount of history. What stands out to me is the repeated invasion, looting, plundering, subjegation and often annhilation of these places by various hordes and mobs over the millenia.
Not much has changed, only the men in charge have tools to do it faster. And leave enough citizens standing to appear humane.
Face it, fellers. This little rock is doomed.

scripto said...

It became a humanitarian crisis when Khadafi got close to the oil fields. The fun part of this war is that the oil has kept flowing to our "allies". If France and Britain pay the most of the bill who really gives a shit? Two Libyas are better than one and we owe Khadafi one anyway.

lawguy said...

Bomb Alabama? You know that isn't a bad idea. I'd go for it.